Meet Brooke!

 

Name: Brooke Smith

Age: 23 (Haha)

Position: Bartender

Favorite WHBC Food: Chicken Savoy- Blackened

Favorite WHBC Beer: Outage IPA

Hometown: Suffolk, VA

WHBC: How long have you worked here?

Brooke S: Since opening.

WHBC: How did you find out about the job?

BS: It was posted in the Virginian Pilot. I emailed, got no response, so I stopped in and talked to Robert Cox.

WHBC: What kind of work did you do before working here?

BS: Bartender/Manager

WHBC: What is your favorite thing about working here?

BS: My regular customers, coworkers, and meeting new people.

WHBC: Do you have any favorite customers?

BS: That’s hard because I love a lot of them. I like all of them for who they are. They are all unique. They, especially the older ones, have accomplished so much and have been to so many places. I always have interesting conversations with them.

 

WHBC: Do you have a favorite coworker?

BS: NO!

WHBC: Do you have a signature drink that you make?

BS: Lost At Sea. I made it up during a vacation. It contains more alcohol when I mix it on vacation.

WHBC: Speaking of vacations, do you have a favorite vacation spot?

BS: Beach or mountains

WHBC: What do you do in your spare time?

BS: Go to the gym, run, and hang out with family. I always have a project, like redoing furniture or writing.

WHBC: Tell us something that most people do not know about you:

BS: I have a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Ashford University. When my kids were little, I didn’t have a chance to do internships in order to enter the field. There is more money in bartending and a more family friendly schedule.

WHBC: If you had a super power, what would it be?

BS: To produce a forcefield-to protect the people I love and care about.

WHBC: Lastly, is there anything you want the world to know about you?

BS: I’m tiny but mighty!

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Meet Deb!

 

Name: Deborah Hallahan

Age: 44

Position: Server

Favorite WHBC Food: Chicken Savoy

Favorite WHBC Beer: Hamtown Heavy Stout

WHBC: So let’s get started. Where is your hometown?

Deb H: Littleton, Colorado

WHBC: How long have you worked for us?

DH: Since August of 2015

WHBC: What kind of work did you do before working for us?

DH: I have worked at a pet store. I sold concessions at Bandimere Speedway. I got to watch races while I sold pizza. I was a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), wiping butts at a nursing home. That was a tough job, but no regrets. I started serving at Denny’s. I got into serving because of my husband being in the Navy. It is an easy job to pick up anywhere and a good way to meet people.

WHBC: What do you like most about working here?

DH: People-both the customers and my coworkers. The people of Smithfield take care of us. Working here is good for networking.

WHBC: Do you have any favorite coworkers?

DH: I have a lot of favorites. I don’t think it would be fair to pick one or two. I do enjoy working with my daughter, Grace.

WHBC: So having a spouse in the Navy means moving around a lot. How many times have you had to move?

DH: We have been to 5 duty stations, but we have moved 11 times.

WHBC: What was your favorite duty station?

DH: Sicily. I miss it everyday.

WHBC: Would you move there?

DH: I would visit, but not move there because the people I knew wouldn’t be there.

WHBC: What do you do in your spare time?

DH: What is that? I volunteer at Renaissance School of Arts, teaching leathercraft. I also homeschool my 3 kids (for the past 8 years).

WHBC: What is a favorite family activity?

DH: Road trips. The one that stands out the most is the one in Italy. We started in Sicily, and drove up one side of Italy and down the other. It took two-ish weeks. We also rode motorcycles as part of a mixed group of Italians and Americans.

WHBC: Were there problems communicating because of the language barrier?

DH: Yes, definitely! They wanted help practicing English, which didn’t help me practice Italian. A friend told me “Don’t hurt yourself” in regards to speaking Italian, because I mangled it so badly.

WHBC: Tell us something most people don’t know about you:

DH: That is a challenging question. There’s not a lot I won’t talk about. I’ve always been horribly shy. I wait tables to conquer the shyness.

WHBC: It seems like you have been to some cool places and had some neat experiences.

DH: I’ve had a hard life [as a Navy Spouse], but a good one. I’ve been very fortunate.

WHBC: Thanks so much for this interview!

DH: Thanks for asking!

 

 

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Meet Aly!

 

Name: Alysia Eisel

Age: 32

Position: Front of House Manager

Favorite WHBC Food: Shrimp Po’ Boy

Favorite WHBC Beer: After Church Amber

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WHBC: Where is your hometown?

Aly Eisel: Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I lived there for 12 years. My parents were adventure seekers, so we moved a lot of places, and wound up here.

WHBC: How long have you been employed with us?

AE: Since October 2019

WHBC: What type of work did you do before working for us?

AE: I was a Dental Assistant for 10 years. I also did (and still do) marketing for my mom’s business.

WHBC: What is Mom’s business?

AE: She runs a sober living house for recovering addicts. It is interesting working at a bar while promoting sober living.

WHBC: How did you wind up at WHBC?

AE: I worked 10 hour days at my previous job. I needed something part time so I could spend more time with my family.

WHBC: What do you like best about working here?

AE: The people – both customers and my co-workers. I love this atmosphere. I also love food and beer!

WHBC: If you could talk to any one person from history, who would it be and why?

AE: Ronald Reagan, because of the state of our government and things going on [in the world]. I would like to know what his input would be.

WHBC: Tell us something the world doesn’t know about you:

AE: I am not witty!

WHBC: Thanks so much for talking with me!

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Meet Jimmy

 

Name: Jimmy Smith (not James)

Age: 22

Position: Line Cook

Favorite WHBC Food: Chicken Wings, naked and no sauce

Favorite WHBC Beer: Isle of Wheat

Education: Kings Fork High School

Old Dominion University – Marine Biology

________________________________________________________________

WHBC: Where is your hometown?

Jimmy: I was born in Suffolk, lived in Ahoskie, NC, and moved back to Suffolk.

WHBC: How long have you worked for us?

JS: Since August 2018

WHBC: Before working for us, what kinds of jobs have you had?

JS: I have been a lifeguard and a pizza delivery driver.

WHBC: How did you end up working for us?

JS: I needed a change in work environment.

WHBC: What do you like most about working here?

JS: I love how we are one big family. Dave and Tom are like uncles to me.

WHBC: Do you have a favorite co-worker?

JS: Actually, I have three. Joe, Justin, and Devin.

WHBC: What do you do in your spare time?

JS: Fishing, Hunting, and Shooting guns.

WHBC: If you could have a chance to redo something in your life, what would it be?

JS: I was a competitive swimmer in high school. I would go to Old Dominion Aquatic Club and continue swimming.

WHBC: Who is your childhood hero?

JS: Heroes- My mom and my dad. My dad was from a farming background, and wound up head of the nuclear department at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. My mom was a welder, which as a woman is a rare find in that industry.

WHBC: If you could go back in history and talk to one person, who would it be and why?

JS: My grandfather. His life is interesting to me. He trained and broke hunting dogs. He was born before the depression, and passed when my dad was 12.

WHBC: Do you see yourself staying in the culinary field?

JS: Not sure. I’ve been thinking about becoming a firefighter.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Have you wondered what it is like to work with Jimmy? Well, whenever I see him, he has a smile on his face. Let’s see what others have to say:

Tami- He is an old soul, and has vast music knowledge.

Traun- He’s an alright kid.

Ron G- He is tall, and can reach things I cannot.

Tom- He is very smart and willing to go the extra mile if needed. A good team player.

 

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Meet Nick

I’m using this snowday to type up a little interview I did with Nick this past week.  Read on…

Quick Facts
Name: Nick Balentine A.K.A. Superman
Age: 17, Bday 6/14
Position: Dishwasher
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC food: Burgers
Favorite WHBC beer: Underage!
Education: Smithfield High
 _____________________________________________________________________
WHBC: Hey Nick, how long have you worked here?
Nick: It’s been about a year.
WHBC: You’re done with school this month right?  What are your plans now? (A high school senior’s favorite question, I know)
N: Well, I’m done with classes this month, but I will walk with my class to graduate in January.  I plan to go into the Navy next year.
WHBC: Right!  You’re from a Navy family, yes?
N: Yeah, my mom was in the Navy and my dad still is.  He’s been in for 20 years.
WHBC: That’s awesome; what does he do?
N: He’s an Aviation Boatswain Mate.
WHBC: Is that what you want to do also?  Or something different?
N: For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go into the Navy.  I’ve wanted to enlist and do exactly what my dad does.
WHBC: So when do you plan to start your career?
N: Probably next year; I’d like one more round of holidays at home before leaving.
WHBC: You have siblings at home too?
N: I’ve got two younger brothers.
WHBC:  So what do you do in your spare time?
N: I hang out at my grandparents’ house and help them out.
WHBC: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
N: Probably country; my favorite group is Florida Georgia Line.
WHBC: Ever seen them in concert?
N:  Nope.
WHBC: Well, there’s your fist bucket list item.  Speaking of that…any other things already on that list?
N: Go to Hawaii and Australia.  And go skydiving.
WHBC: Oh gosh…sky diving.  I’m terrified of the thought.  But Hawaii was definitely worth the trip!
WHBC: Last question…if you could talk to any person (or group of people) from history, who would it be and why?
N: Ronald Reagan because he’s one of my favorite presidents and I feel like it would be cool to talk to him.
WHBC: What words of wisdom do you have for those younger than you?
N: I guess to not worry about what other people say or are doing.  Just keep your head down and focus on what you want to do.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Wondering what it’s like to work with Nick?  He’s almost always upbeat and encouraging of everyone around him.  I’ve known him to just tell someone they’re doing great out of the blue.
Joe says, “He’s a hard worker and easy to get along with…until he starts talking about the Patriots.”
Brooke: “Nick is very nice and always helpful.”
Kylee: “He talks too much and always wears a Superman shirt, but he shares his Skittles with me, so he’s alright in my book!”

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Meet Justin

 Things were a little busy for us this fall, so I’ve been slacking on the staff interviews.  But I am back on track, and ready to present the next Staff Spotlight.  Let’s meet Justin…
Quick Facts:
Name: Justin Walker
Age: 16, bday 2/15
Position: Line Cook
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC food: Blackened chicken marinara
Education: Junior, Smithfeld High School
 _____________________________________________________________________
WHBC: You seem to be here every time I come in.  How long have you worked here?
Justin: My dad told me about 9 months ago they were looking for a dishwasher.  So that’s how I started.  The guys on the line encouraged me to start cooking, so I’ve been doing that about a month.
WHBC: What do you do on the line?
J: Normally I work the fryer, but I’m learning how to call out orders and work the grill now too.
WHBC: Your dad is a great chef – do you ever cook with him at home?
J: No, he’s really good at it, so I just let him do it.
WHBC: Is this something you can see yourself making a career of?
J: Maybe.  I want to go to college, though I don’t know where yet. I was thinking culinary or accounting.
WHBC: That’s quite a difference in subject.  I get the culinary, but why accounting?
J: I’m really good with numbers and math so it would make sense.  I have good grades in school; I’ve already gotten a scholarship through my high school.  I’m good at everything except Spanish.
WHBC: I’ve been told that actually.  I almost started out your interview asking you questions exclusively in Spanish to torture you, but thought better of it!  Well, that covers work and school; what do you do for fun?
J: Really just hang out with friends, go workout or play basketball at the Y.
WHBC: Any quirky hobbies?
J: Not really.  Well, I like sneakers.
WHBC: So you’re a sneakerhead?  Is that still a word or am I sounding old?
J: Haha.  No, that’s a thing.  Yeah, I have 11 or 12 pairs of basketball shoes.  My favorite pair is my new Jordan 1s.
WHBC: You’ve got 12 pair?!  That’s…{insert pause here while I roll my eyes into my brain doing mental math}…enough money to buy a decent used car!
J: Yeah, haha.  I’ll buy a car eventually.  I won’t have my license until March.
WHBC: So when you do get your vehicle and license, where is the first place (other than work or school) you’ll go?
J: Virginia Beach with friends probably.
WHBC:  Traveling…if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to be?
J: So many places! I have family all over the place!  I guess Italy first.  It looks nice and the food is great.  But Europe in general; England, Sweden, Iceland.
WHBC: You do have family everywhere!  Your parents and siblings are all still in this area, yes?
J: Yes. I live with my mom.
WHBC: You were born and raised here.  What is one of your funniest childhood memories?
J: Haha.  When I was 6 years old, I fell into a fire.  We had just finished cutting down a tree.  I was just walking along and tripped over the stump, stepped on a nail, then fell into the fire.  I remember my parents bringing me in and sitting me in a green chair with a bunch of ice packs.
WHBC: Oh gosh.  Did this traumatize you at all?  I mean, do you still like bonfires?  You’re not a pyromaniac now or anything like that are you?
J: No. Haha. No trauma!
WHBC: Well, I know from experience you are a very talented french fry thrower.  Other than the art of potato throwing, what interests you?
J: I like all kinds of history.  I like to look at different kinds of cars too.  One day I want to get something older, like a McLaren P1.
WHBC: High hopes are good! So last question before I send you on your way, tell me about one person you’d like to meet.
J: Bill Gates, I think.  He’s super rich and intelligent, and I think I could probably learn a lot from him.
WHBC: Fair enough!  Thanks for taking some time to chat!
J: You’re welcome!
______________________________________________________________________
So what’s it like working with Justin?  Let’s see..
Girl Sam: “He’s an awesome worker.  And he always keeps me smiling and laughing!”
Joe: “I like working with him.  It’s been fun helping him and watching him learn.”
Will: “He’s a good guy to work with.”
And I will say, he is always smiling and in a good mood most every time I see him!  He has fun, but gets his job done.
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Meet Pam

Our spotlight this week in our “Meet Wharf Hill” series is shining on  Pam.  There is seriously nothing she can’t do; she keeps this place chugging right along.  I actually did her interview last week, but was a total slacker and not posting until now…

pam1Quick Facts:
Name: Pam Brock
Age: 45
Birthday: December 16th
Position: General Manager
Birthplace: Rescue, VA
Favorite Beer: Bell Ringer
Favorite Food: I like it all!
Education: Smithfeld High

WHBC: How long have you worked at Wharf Hill?
Preston: Since we opened.  Robert called in January last year because I told him if he ever opened another restaurant, to call me and I’d be there in a heartbeat.  I worked for him at Battery Park Grille.
WHBC: What did you do before working in this industry?
P: I had a desk job before; office administrator.  I worked at Nistem Corporations, an act manufacturer, for 16 years.
WHBC: So why the switch after so long?
P: I switched because we decided I would take some time off to homeschool the kids.  I did that for a year, then started working at the Grille serving and bartending part time.  The kids went back to school the next year, so I started working full time.
WHBC: What do you like about working in a restaurant?
P: I like not sitting at a desk for 8 hours!  There’s a fast pace and it can be stressful for a short time only.  Other jobs it’s constant stress!
WHBC: How do you help pull the staff through stressful moments here?  How do you get through them?
P: I take a breath and tackle one task at a time; prioritize.  When it’s all said and done, you’re only one person and can only do so much at once.
WHBC: What’s best about working here?
P: The staff!  Other places I’ve worked, the staff doesn’t work as a team.  Here, most everyone pulls together.  I have never worked with a better staff.
WHBC: Of all the hats you wear here, what is your favorite?
P: I actually like it all.  Managing, office work, bartending; doing different things makes sure I don’t get burned out.
WHBC: Do you have any customers who stand out in your mind?
P: 3 o’clock Bob, Ed, Don & Candie; I’ve waited on them all for a while now!
WHBC: You’ve been in this area all your life, right?
P: I have.  I grew up in Rescue and moved to Suffolk after we got married. We’ve lived there with our 3 kids for 26 years.
WHBC: What do you all do for fun?
P: Camping!  I love hanging out with my family and everyone once in a while taking a girls’ night out.  When we go camping, we like hiking and riding bike trails.  Our favorite is Jellystone; there was always a lot to do for the kids like fishing and crabbing on the river.
WHBC: So when you were growing up, what did you want to do?
P: I wanted to work with computers.  My first job, I learned programming in DOS.  I’m telling my age there!  I did that for about 5 years, but then moved to my long term job to make more money.
WHBC: Is that something you still want to pursue or is what you are doing now your career?
P: I don’t really deal with computers anymore; everything has changed since I learned.  A few years ago, I played around making websites, but that’s about it.  Where I am now is where I think I’ll stay.
WHBC: So do you have any funny restaurant stories to share?
P: One day, a woman came in with a group of 3 other people.  She had a little Pomeranian service dog with her.  We sat them, and next time I looked around, I saw she had the dog sitting at the table in the high chair on a cushion.  I thought, “Now I’ve seen it all!”  It was pretty funny.
WHBC: Haha!  I’m not sure how I would react to coming around the corner to seeing something like that. Haha.  So last, question.  A request, really.  Please impart words of wisdom on anyone who is joining the restaurant industry.
P: Are you crazy?!?!  Haha.  Seriously, it can be rewarding and stressful all at the same time.  Just take it one day at a time, and enjoy that it’s always something different.

So read on to see what Pam’s coworkers have to say!

Tom: “She is one of the best people I’ve ever worked with.  I kinda followed her from restaurant to restaurant.”
Brooke: “Everyone is equal in her eyes and it shows, ask her mother.  There’s no guesswork; she’ll tell you as it is.  She craves cooperation and will work with you.  Pam is very professional and sometimes silly; a pleasure to work for and with!”
Preston: “When I first started working with her she was the most intimidating person at Wharf Hill, but now that I’ve befriended her she is one of my favorite people to work with. She is always there and always behind the scenes doing so much to make Wharf run smooth. And she knows her cocktails! haha”
pam2
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Meet Tami

Poor Tami had to wait forever it seems for her interview.  I was on vacation, then had surgery so I was laid up and couldn’t write or type!  So here we are…meet Tami!
Tami 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Tami Ducceschi
Age: 36, Birthday April 22
Position: Bartender/Manager
Hometown: Virginia Beach VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Bell Ringer – it removes all motivation to be productive for the rest of the day!
Favorite WHBC Food: Crab cakes
Education: VA Wesleyan and TCC

WHBC: Your hometown is Virginia Beach – how did you get to be out here?
T: My husband and I have a blended family; 4 boys between us.  We needed a bigger house to raise our family in.  So we started looking around and decided to drive out here one day.  And we kept driving, and driving, and driving.  Haha.  It felt like we wouldn’t stop.  But we found a home in Windsor in 2012 and love it.  I prefer being here in the country to the beach.
WHBC: I’m sorry.  You just said 4 boys.  They must keep you on your toes!
T: They do.  They’re 8, 13, 14, and 15.  It could be worse; they could all be girls haha!!  They are all really go kids.  They are all so different; they do their own things so they don’t fight much.  I’m very lucky.  They all know what is expected of them.  My husband and I run a pretty tight ship.  The boys know the rules and follow them.  Most of the time.
WHBC: What do you like to do as a family?
T: Camping and traveling.  We’ve been to Pocahontas, Cherrystone, North Landing, Kiptopeke, Lake Gaston.  We just got a boat and finished out boater safety course, so we are looking forward to wake boarding, fishing, and crabbing.
WHBC: What’s been your favorite family trip?
T: I would say when we went to Disney.  They were all little and could enjoy it.  We went to Massanutten also.  I had tried skiing before and swore I’d never do it again, but we took a lesson there and I tried again and found out I really like it!  Snowboarding not so much.
T: I am very family oriented, and family doesn’t always mean blood.  We are very fortunate to have a couple of families we camp with who we are very close to; we have a solid friend group.  I like my house to be the place where we have bonfires and everyone hangs out and comes together.
WHBC: Very cool!  Do you have family nearby?
T: My mom and grandparents used to live in Virginia Beach, but moved out here near us.  After my mom passed last year, I started being the one to take care of my grandparents.  They’ve since moved to Hampton and I don’t see them often.  My great aunt still lives at the beach, and I take care of her making sure she has what she needs.  I’m the only family she has left.
WHBC: Wow what a full plate you’ve got!  When are able to slow down and relax a bit, what do you like to do?
T: I do genealogy.  Once I start doing that, it’s hard to stop.  I just keep making connection after connection and all of a sudden, the day has gone by.  My dad told me at one time we were related to Stonewall Jackson so I’m trying to figure that out.  I think I’ve got much of his side of the family traced back to the 1400’s.  I also like to work around the house – paint, yardwork, planting, different home projects.
WHBC: Your downtime seems like it keeps you busy too!  So how long have you been working here?
T: Since the very beginning.  I started as a server, then moved on to bartending, then managing.
WHBC: What position do you like working the best?
T: Bartending I think.  I get to spend more time with the customers and can stand and talk to people.  I don’t have to leave their table and come back at all.  I like having that personal time with them because I like to laugh and joke with people.  And the money is good too!
WHBC: Do you have a favorite regular customer?
T: I’m sure I’m going to leave people out.  If I had time to think I could give you a whole list.  Ed, 3 o’clock Bob, Larry, Ed & Cindy, Mark, Megan & Scott, Tom.  It’s funny though because Bob is becoming more of 2:30 Bob.  Later in the week, we have a group that comes in around 3 and takes up the bench in the bar.  They get loud sometimes and I don’t think Bob cares for it.  I like seeing his facial expressions when he reacts to what they’re doing behind him.  He likes to just sit and have quiet conversation on his corner of the bar, so he’s coming earlier now!
WHBC: I’m sure he can be quite expressive!  What’s the funniest or strangest thing that you’ve seen from behind the bar?
T:  Well, the time one of Lee’s sons came in and called Preston “Daddy” was really funny.  A lot of people get the two of them confused; they’re both tall and lanky with dark hair.  The other day a guy by the name of Will came in for lunch.  We were trying to figure out what he did for a living because he was dressed up in a black suit and tie.  I had a long conversation with him – he was very pleasant and positive.  It really made my day speaking with him.  I never found out where he was from or anything.  He tipped well and bought a girl at the bar a couple drinks then left.  Anyway, I googled his name from his charge receipt and turns out he once played for the Seahawks and the Jaguars!
WHBC: Right on!  That’s awesome you had such a great conversation with him and he never even mentioned it!  So speaking about being famous, what was your childhood dream?
T:  To be an actress. I was in plays all throughout school, but never did anything with it.
WHBC: Did you go to college?
T: Oh geez.  Yes. Haha.I went to Virginia Wesleyan and studied all sorts of crazy stuff.  I should have just started with the basics, but instead tried to figure out what I wanted to do and just ended up overwhelmed and quit.  I should have had a plan.  I thought I wanted to study psychology, but never pursued it.  I went back later to TCC for basic ed stuff, then started working at a pharmacy until 2009.  We moved out here and I became a stay at home mom and volunteered at the animal shelter.  Which I’d like to do more of!
WHBC: Yeah, I guess having a plan going into school is probably a good thing.  I can relate though!  So now to the fun stuff.  What’s your favorite TV show?
T: Oh gosh.  Big Brother.  I am absolutely addicted to that show.  I guess frustrated if the DVR doesn’t record for some reason, so I set it up to record two hours after it’s supposed to end so I don’t miss it!
WHBC:Oh wow – I haven’t watched that show in forever! haha.  Last question…and since I know you’ve already thought your answer out for this I will ask what superpower you would have if given the choice?
T:I would be a medium.  Try not to make me sound crazy here, but I have these dreams sometimes.  Premonitions.  And I think if I was a medium I could really help give people peace after their loved ones have passed.  What a wonderful thing that would be.
WHBC:You don’t sound crazy at all!  That’s so interesting.  Thanks for hanging out today!

Want to know what it’s like working with Tami?  Read on…
Liz: “Tami is really easy going.  She’s funny but knows when she can joke around and when she has to be serious.”
Pam: “She can’t count money haha.  She always comes up with different amounts when she counts the drawer. Seriously, Tami is fun to work with, as everyone here is.  Our customers really seem to like her.”
Kait: “Tami is such a pleasure to work with!  She always has a beautiful smile on her face as she prepares to take on the day.  She is very approachable and easy going!”
So basically, Tami rocks!
Tami 3
Tami 1
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet Dave

This week’s spotlight is on Dave.  Apparently, he’s been waiting forever for his interview.  Sorry I took so long, Dave!  So read on and let’s get to know him!
Dave 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Dave Walker
Age: 42, Birthday February 21
Position: Chef/Kitchen Manager
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: Non Wontons 
Education: Plum High School, PA

WHBC: Hey Dave – so tell me how long you’ve been here.  Since the start?
D: Before we opened actually.  I helped with the construction.
WHBC: How did you find out about the position open here?
D: I saw it on Facebook.  And I knew Robert.
WHBC: Does everyone know Robert?!
D: Ha! Yeah, I used to go up to the Grille and shoot pool.  Knew him from there.
WHBC: Where were you working before this?
D: I was at the Smithfield Inn for 13 years.  I left there to go to the Cypress Cove Country Club, but only stayed there for 6 months because it was boring and not at all busy.
WHBC:  So you’ve been a chef quite a while.  Is this always what you wanted to do?
D: I watched my mom and grandma cook while I was growing up.  I moved here in 1986 and started working at Fire and Ice in Hampton as a dishwasher.  I showed an interest in cooking and one of the chefs there gave me a shot.  Started teaching me and I ended up running the kitchen there before they closed.
WHBC: Why this profession?
D: I love food. haha.  I like to see people eating my food and being happy.  How can I say this…Food brings people together.  I come from a big Italian family and that’s just what we did.  We all got together on Sunday, ate, and had fun.
WHBC: Well said! So did you help create the menu here?
D: Not in the beginning.  Robert had ideas for pub/bar food and my experience was more in fine dining.  I do it now though.
WHBC: Which dishes are your babies?
D: The meatloaf, a different chicken sandwich, the fried green tomatoes, and the marinara is my recipe too.
WHBC: The meatloaf is one of my favorites! So being the manager, you still work the line too, right?  How do you get yourself and the guys through when it gets slammed and you’ve got tickets coming out all over the place?
D: We just focus, stay calm, and do what we have to do.  I say don’t let one screw up slow you down.  Get past it and move on.
WHBC: That’s pretty solid advice. If I were to ask the line, what would they say about working with you?
D: Haha.  I think they’d say I’m fun to work with and that I let everyone be themselves and be creative.
WHBC: What is your favorite part about working here of all places?
D:  I know everyone says this, but the people.  They’re fun to work with and this is a fun place to work.  Lee is an awesome boss and looks out for everybody.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite person to work with?
D:  No, I don’t play favorites.  I really like working with all of them!
WHBC: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while working?
D: This just happened not too long ago.  I was cooking pork butts to finish them in the oven.  Tom pulled them out and some grease spilled out without him knowing.  It wasn’t long until the oven caught fire and I had to run for the fire extinguisher to put it out!
WHBC: Hahah.  That is very reminiscent of Thanksgiving at my house a few years ago.  Turkey grease spilled and caught the oven on fire. haha.
WHBC: So when you’re not working, what are you up to?
D: I just hang out with friends, shoot my guns ad play corn hole.  I think it would be cool to have a corn hole tournament between the local restaurants.  But we’d have to not be working to be able to do that!
WHBC: That would be fun, although I suck at cornhole!  So tell me about your family.
D: Most of my family is still back in Pittsburgh.  My kids are here in Smithfield.  I have four kids; they’re 19, 18, 16, and 12.  Jacob and Justin both work here.  And I have a 1 year old grandson.
WHBC: And he’s adorable!  So tell me something the world might not know about Mr. Dave Walker.
D: I’m nicer than my coworkers think.  And I like to work on cars.  My dad and grandpa taught me while I was growing up and it just stuck with me.  I’d like to restore my truck one day soon.
WHBC: So are you ready for the weird questions?  I like to save these for last! haha
D: I’ll tell you right now the super power I’d want – to get rid of stupidity! haha.
WHBC: Wouldn’t that be something?! So my question to you then is if you were a time traveler, where and when would you go?
D: I think I’d go to the early 1900s to Italy.  That’s where my family is from and I’d like to see it. And I’ve never been.
WHBC: Have you ever been out of the country?
D: Just recently actually.  We went on a cruise to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Caymans.  We got to swim with sting rays and snorkel the coral reefs.  In Mexico we hung out on the beach.  I didn’t like Jamaica though – people were pushy and there were a lot of drugs.  The island was beautiful though.
WHBC: Last question – what’s your catchphrase?  If I were to ask around, how would people finish this sentence?  Dave always says…
D: Now I can’t tell you that because they all have the F word in them. hahah
WHBC: Yes, then best to save those I guess.  Haha.  Thanks for talking with me – it was fun!

So I’m doing something a little different – giving it a try, spicing things up, stirring the pot… you get it.  Keep reading to see what some of Dave’s coworkers had to say about him.

I asked what it is like to work with Dave.
Nick: ” It’s intimidating, but rewarding.  He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.  He’s a really good role model.”
Sam: “He awful, the worst ever.  He beats us when no one is looking.  Seriously… he’s really great.  No complaints here.  Hopefully I won’t get fired for saying the first haha.”
Tammy: “You gotta keep his water jug refilled.  If he’s got water he’s happy.  If you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, he’s happy.  He doesn’t like confrontation.  Dave is very focused.  He’s hilarious and sarcastic.  If you don’t know him, some might take it personally, but you can’t.  It’s all in fun.  Dave is super creative, hard working, the energy of the kitchen, has a great laugh, and can whip up some of the best desserts I’ve ever had.  That’s saying a lot since I don’t really eat sweets.  When he’s working, I know whatever comes our way, we can get through it!”
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Meet Will

Welcome to this week’s staff spotlight.  Let’s have a chat with Will, shall we?
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Quick Facts:
Name: Will Pruden
Age: 29, Birthday May 15th
Position: Dishwasher/prep cook
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: Chicken Wings
Education: Smithfield High School

WHBC: Hey Will!  I’ll start with the basics; how long have you worked here?
W: Since day 1.  My dad had looked into doing some woodworking here and I asked him if they were hiring.  Came in and filled out an application and the rest is history.
WHBC: What position did you start in?
W: I started out cooking.  I got to stand over in the little corner with AC when I did dishes, so I kind of just moved over there.
WHBC: What’s your favorite position of the three you’ve worked?
W: Prep for sure.  It’s the easiest and nobody really bothers you.  I just throw my headphones in and get to work.
WHBC: What’s your favorite thing about working here?
W: Time flies.  You’ll be working and it’s one minute and then you look up and two hours has passed.
WHBC:  Do you have a favorite person to work with and why?
W: Meagan because she gives me back rubs. haha
WHBC: I should start working in the pub more often if that’s the case!  You work full time; what do you do in your spare time?
W: Yeah I work 5-7 shifts a week.  When I’m not working I just like to sit down and relax on my back porch.  I like to go fishing all along the James.  I’m also a commercial fisherman; oystering and crabbing.  I’m the resident oyster shucker here.  My family owns Brown’s Marina in Rescue, so I’ve been doing that a while.
WHBC: You were born here?  Have you ever left or wanted to leave?
W: Yup born here, and no I don’t want to leave.  This is where it’s at; there’s water everywhere.  I like vacations, but I like living here.
WHBC: Your family is here also, I assume. How many siblings do you have?
W: Two older brothers.  They tormented me and made me into the person I am today!
WHBC: Haha.  Do you have a favorite childhood memory?  Anything that sticks out that you’ll always remember?
W: So, I got my thumb stuck in my grandpa’s pickup.  There’s a little hole in the tailgate and I was pushing my thumb in there and it got stuck.  We had to drive cross the JRB to the hospital so they could use the jaws of life to get my hand free.  The paramedics had to ride in the bed of the truck with me, we had a police escort, it was a pretty big deal.
WHBC: Oh my gosh haha!!  You’re good to go now though, right?  Two working thumbs?
W: *gives me a double thumbs up and a big grin*
WHBC: Excellent.  What is something a lot of people might not know about you?
W:  I guess that I can tell you anything you want to know about the water or seafood.  I’ve been on the water my whole life.  I know all the waterways very well.
WHBC: Cool!  So, weird question time.  Because that’s kind of my thing.  I’ve heard you’re an animal person.  If you could come back in another life as an animal, what would you choose?
W:  A turtle for sure.  They live a very chill life.
WHBC: You seem pretty laid back yourself.  Do you have any life words of wisdom?
W: I guess I’d say not all who wander are lost.
WHBC: Tolkien is very wise!  Will, thank you for the interview!
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